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Legal immigration to Bulgaria and the European Union

Neli Minkova from Posolstvo.eu
Mrs Neli Minkova – assistant lawyer at Posolstvo.eu

Posolstvo.eu is leading administrative and advisory services provider with headquarters in Sofia, Bulgaria. We are assisting foreign nationals to legally immigrate, relocate and start their business in Bulgaria (and in the EU). We are also providing support to those who are willing to attend university or be employed in the country. Unfortunately, in the age of bureaucracy, relocation is not a straightforward procedure. Immigration has become a cumbersome process, least to say. Employment in an EU country (such as Bulgaria) does require more than just finding an employer. In fact for many, after the sharp rise in the wages in Bulgaria and the current shortage of skilled workforce, finding an employer became the easy task. Now, obtaining the legal permissions to relocate is the hard nut to crack.

Assistance with the immigration formalities – legal & administrative procedures

Even studying in university has to be backed by professional and timely assistance to have all the paperwork in order. Here is where our assistance comes at hand. Our professional assistance is in fact your entry door to Bulgaria and the European Union as a whole. Immigration to Bulgaria and the EU requires the successful completion of different complicated procedures!

Our experience in immigration law and our reputation

We believe to be the only company in Bulgaria, capable of arranging 100% flawless procedure and achieving successful results in close to 100% of all cases! There are many who believe they can handle the immigration formalities, but reality shows that the vast majority of the applications can not be even processed if they have not been handled by a professional in the immigration field. So in a nutshell, if an applicant wants to have his or her file in order, there should be no corners being cut. Legal conformity is our team’s utmost priority and we will never compromise our client’s interests.

For your immigration to Bulgaria, whether a mere long term residence permit or a complicated investment naturalization procedure – you can count on our advice to help you make the right move and to start a new life!

We provide daily consultations in our offices in Sofia, mainly to foreigners who are currently in Bulgaria and are struggling to arrange their immigration formalities. To those who are still abroad, we provide life-changing support in order for them to obtain immigration visa D and consequentially – legal residency or Bulgarian citizenship.

Bulgaria – much more than an access point to the EU

So, why is Bulgaria so popular among foreigners? Why is the immigration to Bulgaria so desired by so many foreigners today? From UK investors relocating to Bulgaria and buying residential properties, to Pakistani citizens seeking better life in Europe. From Chinese businesses opening branches in Sofia to Russian entrepreneurs expanding their corporations to the EU. Bulgaria offers everyone its beauty, political and legal stability, rising economy and most importantly, access to the whole market of the European Union – freedom of movement and free travel.

EU RESIDENCY EXPLAINED

The EU Directive on the status of non-EU nationals who are long-term residents, states that the status of long-term resident should be awarded after a person has lived legally in an EU State for a certain period of time. In order to reside in a EU member state, the non-EU national has to obtain initial residence permit and there is where we can assist by administrating all legal procedures.

WORKING IN BULGARIA AND IN THE EU

Labor immigration has a key role to play in driving economic development and in addressing current and future demographic challenges in the EU. The EU is therefore working on a number of interconnected measures which, together, aim to produce flexible admission systems, responsive to the priorities of each EU State, while enabling migrant workers to make full use of their skills.

Bulgarian Citizenship

IMPORTANT: We would like to draw the attention of the perspective candidates who are looking to enhance their mobility by obtaining the possibility to travel visa-free worldwide and to reside unrestricted in all EU countries. The Bulgarian State program for Citizenship by Investment provides the opportunity to obtain full EU citizenship and Bulgarian passport in period of about 18 months by making a 100% refundable investment in a wide range of products. Please read more about the Bulgarian State citizenship program and the opportunity to obtain EU passport.

More about the Bulgarian citizenship by investment program

In contrast to other citizenship by investment programs (i.e. Cyprus or Malta), the Bulgarian legislation doesn’t require any substantial payment to the government. It doesn’t require property purchase that attracts huge brokerage fees as well as sales taxes and even colossal VAT burden for the applicant. The applicant’s investment, under the Bulgarian state program, is fully refundable, liquid at all stages and can be tracked in real time via internet or other channels. The generated income during the investment period is entirely for the account of the applicant and is additional bonus to the new citizen, along with the brand new Bulgarian (EU) passport.

We have summarized the legal and other information and have made comparison between the top EU citizenship for investment programs. We have outlined the advantages and the pitfalls of each one in comparison with the Bulgarian program. You can read more about Bulgaria vs Cyprus Citizenship by Investment program and Bulgaria vs Malta Cyprus Citizenship by Investment program. It is also worth reading about the 10 myths about the Bulgarian fast-track Citizenship program.

Some basic information about the advantages of being resident or citizen of Bulgaria

EU and NATO member

Bulgaria is the new land of opportunities in Europe, many respectable analysts say. As a NATO member since 2004, and a full EU member since 2007, Bulgaria is by international standards considered financially and politically stable. Bulgaria ranks 38th in the World Banks Ease-of-Doing-Business index climbing 14th places for one year from 52nd in 2014; higher than all other Eastern European countries members of the EU. Bulgaria also places 28th on the Economic Freedom of the World index; outperforming the Netherlands and South Korea.

Lowest taxation in the EU

Bulgaria boasts the lowest corporate and personal income tax rates among all European Union member states. The corporate tax is fixed at 10% flat rate. The personal income tax is only 10% regardless of the amount one earns. The health and pension contributions are among the lowest within the whole European Union. Bulgaria has Double Taxation Treaties with 68 countries all over the world. The banking system in Bulgaria is modern and fiscally sound. The government guarantees 100% of all deposits up to EUR 100 000. Credit interest rates are low. Some of the biggest EU banks are represented in Bulgaria.

Highly developed tourism industry

The tourism sector is developing extremely well, accounting for nearly 22% of the country’s total GDP. More than 9 million tourists from Greece, Romania, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom visit Bulgaria each year. Forecasts estimate that the number of tourists visiting Bulgaria will increase to 12 million by 2020.

Religious tolerant

Bulgaria is very religious tolerant. Many Muslims are living in the country while the majority of its population is Christian Orthodox. Bulgarians, unlike many other nationalities, have been living peacefully with their Muslim neighbors for centuries. They have been respecting not only their religion, but also their cultural differences. As an interesting fact, the Banya Bashi Mosque in Sofia, built by the architect and civil engineer Mimar Sinan is one of the largest mosques of its kind in the area. The mosque is visited daily by the Muslim community in Sofia and can accommodate more than 1200 prayers.

Bright economic future

Forecasts indicate that the Bulgarian economy will continue to perform well in the immediate future. Consequently, Bulgaria’s improving economy will also continue to attract foreign investors and immigrants. Many of them will consider starting a business in Bulgaria and applying for Bulgarian residence permit and for citizenship consequentially.

The bond between Bulgaria and the EU

So how are Bulgaria and the European Union as a whole interacting together? Immigration to Bulgaria is also immigration to the EU as a whole. The European in its core is an Union without borders and with ultimate freedom of movement and settlement.

In today’s world, greater mobility brings with it opportunities and challenges. A balanced, comprehensive and common migration policy is helping the EU to seize these opportunities while tackling the challenges head-on. The EU is built upon solidarity and responsibility. It will have the added advantage of making a valuable contribution to the EU’s economic development and performance in the long term.

The Single Permit Directive

In December 2011, the so-called Single Permit Directive was adopted. It creates a set of rights for non-EU workers legally residing in an EU State. At the same time, EU is discussing Commission proposals for further Directives on the conditions of entry and residence for seasonal workers and intra-corporate transferees. The aim is to simplify migration procedures and give migrants clear employment-related rights. Furthermore, the Long-Term Residence Directive has created a single status for non-EU nationals who have been lawfully resident in an EU country for certain period of time. Thus it is establishing a legal basis for equal treatment of the foreigner in all EU countries. Whether the non-EU citizen is coming from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, Russia or China, the same policy will apply and the resident will be presented with equal opportunities. Immigration to Bulgaria has just became a true immigration to the EU.

FAQ about visa & residency in Bulgaria

What is the difference between a tourist visa and an immigration visa?

Tourist visa (type C) is granted to those who intend on staying short-term in Bulgaria for tourist purposes (or other reasons, requiring short stay in the country).
Immigration visa (type D, as per art.15 from the “Law for the Foreigners”) is granted to those who have reasons to obtain long term or permanent residence in Bulgaria.

Can I work in Bulgaria with tourist visa?

No, you are not allowed to work with tourist visa in Bulgaria. There are severe penalties, in case the authorities find out that a foreigner is working illegally in the country.

Can I work in Bulgaria with immigration visa?

The short answer is: “it depends”. In reality however, you must first “transform” your visa to “residence permit” first. This process is not always a straightforward. Then, your working rights in Bulgaria will depend entirely on the grounds on which your residence permit has been issued. In some cases, as if you are married to Bulgarian citizen, you will be allowed to work without obtaining additional work permit. In other instances however, you will have no working rights in Bulgaria.

I have heard that if I marry Bulgarian national, I will be able to get Bulgarian passport really fast (or even immediately). Is this true?

No, unfortunately (for you in this case), marrying with Bulgarian citizen will only provide you the opportunity to obtain long-term residence permit in the country. Depending on whether you and your partner (will) have children may eventually speed up your naturalization significantly. You can read more about Bulgarian citizenship at Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization.